Wisconsin Senate passes anti-union bill
Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate have passed a law that strips public employees of most collective bargaining rights, using a procedural trick to bypass the Democrats’ efforts to avoid a vote. Gov. Scott Walker applauded the move, but, according to media reports, opponents are calling the tactic a violation of the open meetings law and are planning to challenge the new law.
The state’s Senate passed the bill Wednesday after weeks of protests. Democrats in the Senate had been in hiding, refusing to come to the capital in an effort to prevent a quorum from being formed, essentially blocking a vote. However, Senate Republicans removed financial provisions from the bill, which permitted a vote to be held without a quorum. “The Senate Democrats have had three weeks to debate this bill and were offered repeated opportunities to come home, which they refused,” Walker said in a statement. “In order to move the state forward, I applaud the legislature’s action today to stand up to the status quo and take a step in the right direction to balance the budget and reform government.”
However, Senate Democrats almost immediately said they plan to challenge the ruling, according to the Capital Times newspaper in Madison, Wis. “I honestly do not believe this action will stand. We will seek every recourse available,” state Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca told the Times. “Clearly what they did was improper and illegal.”
The full state Assembly was expected to work on the bill Thursday.